Winning scratch-off ticket worth $2,000 helps pay for Champagnat's bus ride to state football finals
ORLANDO -- Finding creative ways to pay athletic bills comes with the territory when you are a small private school.
When the football budget ran out at the end of the regular season for unbeaten Champagnat Catholic, athletic director Isabel Alonso went to work with candy fundraisers and other such events. Parents even helped by selling sponsorships. Still, it hasn't been enough.
Then last week, on their way to a state semifinal game at Indian Rocks Christian near Tampa, Alonso decided to use a $20 bill of her own money on a few scratch-off tickets when the team made a stop at a gas station.
"When I got back to the bus I told the kids, 'Guess what! We've got a bus ride to Orlando next week!" Alonso said.
Alonso won $2,000 and cashed the ticket in this week to help pay for the team's bus ride to and from The Citrus Bowl. The Lions (13-0) take on Lakeland Victory Christian (10-3) in the Class 2A state title game. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.
"God has really put great things in our path," Alonso said. "[Wednesday morning] a team parent [Mildred Aparcio] showed up with exactly the amount of money we needed for the hotel. It's definitely in God's plan for us to be there."
The Lions have four FBS college commitments including defensive tackle Travonte Valentine, a University of Miami commitment.
-- MANNY NAVARRO
I wrote a more comprehensive story on Champagnat and how the team has overcome several hurdles to get to state this year. Read about it in Friday's Miami Herald.
Heritage's Sony Michel named state's Gatorade Player of the Year, becomes fifth from Broward to earn honor
American Heritage running back Sony Michel became the fifth Broward County player and first since St. Thomas Aquinas offensive lineman Sam Young in 2005 to be named the state's Gatorade Player of the Year in football on Thursday.
The 5-foot-11, 205-pound senior running back has run for 1,602 yards and 18 touchdowns on 186 carries this season and led the Patriots (12-1) to only their second trip to the state semifinals. Heritage plays at Lake Wales on Friday.
Michel has maintained a 3.88 weighted GPA in the classroom, and has donated his time as a mentor and anti-bullying advocate for younger student-athletes in the community, Gatorade said in its press release.
“Sony’s consistency over the last four years at American Heritage has stood out to me, because it’s hard to be so good for so long,” said Patriots head coach Mike Rumph. “Sony is also very humble and doesn’t let the fame get to his head.”
Michel committed to the University of Georgia and said Wednesday after practice he still intends to head to Athens.
PREVIOUS GATORADE PLAYER OF THE YEAR WINNERS IN FLORIDA
1985: Willis Peguese, LB, Miami Southridge (University of Miami)
1986: x-Emmitt Smith, RB, Pensacola Escambia (University of Florida)
1987: Derek Brown, TE/LB, Merritt Island (Notre Dame)
1988: Richard McKenzie, LB, Boyd Anderson (Penn State)
1989: Lateef Travis, LB, Pensacola Pine Forrest (Florida State University)
1990: x-Marquette Smith, RB, Winter Park Lake Howell (FSU)
1991: Danny Kanell, QB, Westminster Academy (FSU)
1992: Thad Busby, QB, Pace (FSU)
1993: Lamont Green, LB, Miami Southridge (FSU)
1994: Martavious Houston, LB, Boyd Anderson (Auburn)
1995: Sheddrick Gurley, LB, Tallahassee Godby (Florida)
1996: Kenny Kelly, QB, Tampa Catholic (UM)
1997: Ernest Graham, RB, Cape Coral Mariner (Florida)
1998: Anquan Boldin, QB, Pahokee (FSU)
1999: Willis McGahee, RB, Miami Central (UM)
2000: Adrian McPherson, QB, Bradenton Southeast (FSU)
2001: Gavin Dickey, QB, Tallahassee Lincoln (Florida)
2002: Ernie Sims, LB, Tallahassee North Florida Christian (FSU)
2003: Keith Rivers, LB, Lake Mary (University of Southern California)
2004: Kenny Phillips, DB, Miami Carol City (UM)
2005: Sam Young, OL, St.Thomas Aquinas (Notre Dame)
2006: x-John Brantley, QB, Ocala Trinity Christian (Florida)
2007: Brandon Harris, DB, Miami Booker T. Washington (UM)
2008: Jacobbi McDaniel, DL, Madison County (FSU)
2009: Matt Elam, LB/RB, Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer (UF)
2010: Jeff Driskel, QB, Hagerty (UF)
2011: Will Likely, DB, Belle Glade Glades Central (Maryland)
2012: Derrick Henry, RB, Yulee (Alabama)
2013: Sony Michel, RB, Plantation American Heritage (Georgia)